“Parallels” by Linda Gonschior, excerpt and giveaway

Dear all,

I am glad to have for the first time in My Vices and Weaknesses author Linda Gonschior. She is presenting her third book on the Reflections series and I hope you enjoy what she is sharing with you today.

Just in case you have missed the previous post, let’s have a look at the blurb:

Love, heartbreak, and self-discovery

are life’s greatest challenges,

no matter who your parents may be.

Will and Elizabeth Darcy faced those challenges twenty years earlier, yet marriage taught them patience, understanding, and most importantly, the irreplaceable value of one another. Now their children are about to embark upon that path, hopefully to learn those lessons more gently and avoid the mistakes of their parents.

This third book in the Reflections series brings to a conclusion the story of a couple whose love drew them together in spite of themselves and continues to test them when least expected.

I do not know if you have read the previous books but I would bet that reading this blurb makes you think “I think I should read the previous two”. On the other hand, if you have read the previous two books on the series, I can imagine that you cannot wait to see what is going on with the Darcy’s children. It is pretty appealing to read how they met, how they fell in love, got married and had their kids, don’t you think?

Let me introduce you to the author of this really good series:

Linda Gonschior has entertained the art of writing since elementary school but never allowed it to come to fruition until Pride and Prejudice lured her into deeper exploration of characters, relationships and ‘what ifs’.  Writing is not the breadwinner, however, as she has a day job and many other interests that compete for attention and time.  Still, she has managed to squeeze in several dozen stories – long and short – and there are many more in the ‘incomplete’ folder on the computer.  As retirement looms on the horizon, some may be dusted off to evaluate their potential to entertain those who share a fondness for Jane Austen’s characters and don’t mind straying a little off the beaten path.

Amongst her accomplishments Linda counts raising a son, stage managing live theatre productions, flower gardening, and website administration, but not netting purses or painting screens.

You can follow her on Facebook on her Author Page. Here you have her Amazon UK Author Page.

Linda is an accomplish woman, indeed! We can say that she reads a lot too 🙂

EXCERPT

Enjoy!! Darcy and Georgiana and then Darcy’s children. Any similarities? Any parallels?

Thank you Ana for this opportunity to share a little more from Parallels, the final book in my Reflections series! I’d like to talk a bit about the Darcy siblings’ relationships.

In the first two books the character of Georgiana Darcy played a significant role. The relationship between these Darcy siblings was strong, supportive and not without conflict at times. Georgiana was there for her brother in some of his lowest moments. She also let him know when he was thinking too much of himself and not others. In this excerpt from Parallels it is Will’s turn to bring his sister out of the darkness of grief, but can he?

**

There was no answer to his knock, but he hadn’t expected one. Pushing the door open slowly, Will peered around it to see Georgiana sitting in the window seat, staring towards the front lawn. He crossed the room to stand at her shoulder. For several minutes, he said nothing, but memories from childhood soon intruded. “I remember when Mum dressed you up for our family portrait and you escaped from the house, running across the grass to the pond on the other side.” He looked at her face for some reaction. “Do you remember, Georgie?”

A small smile appeared on her face, but Will suspected it was merely for his benefit. Her eyes still stared vacantly through the glass. “I was looking for you.”

“You thought you were the only one denied any fun for the sake of that portrait, but I was annoyed at having to be here instead of with my friends. You knew exactly where to find me.” He looked out the window too. “Despite your little adventure, the photo turned out to be excellent. We managed to clean you up before Mum and Dad realized you were found. Nobody even noticed the mud on your shoes.” Will turned to face her once more, taking one of her hands in his to squeeze it.

“Don’t, Will. Don’t try to make me feel like I’m still alive…because I’m not.” She whispered the words, her gaze out the window never wavering.

**

In keeping with the ‘parallels’ theme, Will and Elizabeth’s two eldest children also share a close bond. They tease and annoy one another, of course. And when one is in trouble the other is quick to act even if it’s unwelcome interference.

**

Anna wasn’t, by nature, particularly patient. So when Wednesday evening rolled around and she still hadn’t heard from her brother, she began to make enquiries. Since there had been no reply the dozen times she had texted and rung his mobile, she next called Robert Bingley, where Ben had last been.

“Sorry, Anna,” Robert told her. “I haven’t seen him since Sunday. He left here in a mood, and I doubt he’s coming back anytime soon.”

She thanked him and said goodbye, not wanting to spend too much time when she could be continuing to look for him elsewhere.

Anna and Ben had always been rather close. She tagged after him as a child, forever into her big brother’s toys and wanting to do everything he did. A pest she may have been, but Ben hadn’t minded altogether, and as they grew older, they had grown closer, which was why Anna was worried now. It simply wasn’t like Ben to hide himself away like this.

The quickest way to find him would be the university, she decided, and with that in mind, Anna didn’t waste any time. She drove straight to Cambridge and sought him out in class.

“What are you doing here?” Ben hissed as he joined her in the hallway outside the lecture hall.

“As if you have to ask!” Anna hissed back. “Where have you been?”

“Around.”

“Don’t be smart. Mum is worried sick about you. How can you be so inconsiderate?” Anna pulled on his arm, turning him to face her. “What happened on Monday, Ben?”

He looked away then brought his eyes around again to meet hers. “I made a right mess of things.”

“Oh, Ben.” Anna felt her brother’s pain just looking at his face. “Are you sure? Can’t you make it up?”

“I doubt it. I did everything I promised her I wouldn’t do. How could she trust me again?” Ben shook his head and started walking down the corridor.

Anna walked along beside him. “You can’t just give up, Ben. Isn’t she worth fighting for? Isn’t your relationship stronger than that?”

Ben came to a sudden halt and spun around to glare at his sister. “I don’t need any lectures from you, Anna! I feel like a daft plonker, and I deserve to feel that way. Don’t give me any condescending reassurances because I don’t want them. Just leave me alone.”

“But,” Anna began.

“I said to leave me alone!”

**

I hope you find these tidbits appetizing!

What do you think? I have really liked both bits and I want to know more. Why is Georgiana not feeling alive? What has Ben done?

If you want to buy the book, you could do it here:

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BLOG TOUR

Do not forget the previous post and the following ones, you are going to enjoy them and know a bit more about Linda and Parallels.

June 7 Donadee’s Corner

June 8 My Vices and Weaknesses

June 9 Diary of an Eccentric

June 10 From Pemberley to Milton

June 11 Babblings of a Bookworm

June 14 My Jane Austen Book Club

June 15 Probably at the Library

Meryton Press is giving away eight eBooks of Parallels. The giveaway is international. The giveaway ends at midnight on the 17th of June or 12:00 AM on the 18th of June.

Click on the link and follow the instructions. Good luck!!

Rafflecopter “Parallels”

“Dare to Refuse such a Man” by Mary Smythe, review, deleted scene + giveaway

“He is the kind of man, indeed, to whom I should never dare refuse anything which he condescended to ask.”

– Mr Bennet, Pride and Prejudice Volume III, Chapter 17

It had never occurred to Fitzwilliam Darcy that, once he had chosen a bride, her father might dare to refuse his consent. When his dearest, loveliest Elizabeth is taken from him with only a curt note of explanation, he determines that, far from accepting her father’s rejection of his suit, he must instead find her again and make his case. After all, a woman worthy of being pleased is also worth fighting for.

Several months shy of her majority, it is not so simple a thing to defy Mr Bennet’s will, but Elizabeth, for the sake of her future happiness, must try. With various allies in her corner, as well as foes standing against her, Elizabeth’s courage must rise against all attempts at intimidation. Even from her own, much beloved father.

Really? Mr. Bennet is going to reject Darcy’s suit? Yes, he is going to and you will not forgive him easily, in case you ever do!

Hello to all!

I am looking forward for you to know a bit more about this really good book: Dare to Refuse Such a Man by Mary Smythe. I hope you have liked the blurb because there is much more to come on this post.

Let me introduce you to the author Mary Smythe:

Mary Smythe is a homemaker living in South Carolina with a rather useless BA in English collecting dust in a closet somewhere. Mrs Smythe discovered the works of Jane Austen as a teenager thanks to the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries featuring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle and has since gone on to read everything written by Ms Austen at least once yearly, always wishing that there were more. She has been writing since 2001, but only discovered Jane Austen Fanfiction in the summer of 2018. Dare to Refuse Such a Man is the first full-length novel she has ever completed, though she can boast a few shorter works in her library, as well.

I am going to make you wait to read my review because Mary is sharing a deleted scene that is very sweet! I understand that it was not included but it gives you a peek on Elizabeth and Darcy.

Thanks for having me on your wonderful blog today, Ana! I’m honored to be here.

There were actually quite a few scenes removed from the original draft of Dare to Refuse Such A Man, almost all of them with the same problem: they didn’t forward the story. Sweetness and humor are great, but I’ve been informed by more than one person that sometimes it’s best to just get on with it, especially when the reader is itching for a resolution. And so many of the minor romantic/funny scenes were excised (delicately, of course, to be saved for later) for the sake of getting into the meat of the plot. But, not to worry, there’s still plenty of light, bright and sparkling romance left in the book.

This particular scene, featuring a playful footrace between Darcy and Elizabeth, has nothing to do with anything other than watching our dear couple fall in love. It takes place in the earlier portion of the story, while Darcy and Elizabeth are still in Derbyshire and tentatively learning to understand one another. Neither is quite sure where their relationship is going yet, but I think it’s clear to the reader. I was sorry to see it (and others like it) go, but I’m happy that I get to share it here!

“I admit that I was most impressed with your tree climbing abilities yesterday.”

Elizabeth felt warmth creep into her cheeks at Mr Darcy’s reference to her petulant and unladylike display from the previous morning. It had belatedly occurred to her that it was perhaps not the best idea to act in such a hoydenish way before a pair of eligible gentlemen, no matter how provoked she had been by their own behaviour. It was done, however, and she would bear up with the shame as best she could. “I confess I have had much practice.”

Mr Darcy, far from the offence that he should have been expressing, smiled indulgently. “I could see as much myself. I am not certain that I could have performed the task as efficiently as you, even without skirts to hinder me.”

“When one is forced to wear them,” Elizabeth quipped, flicking her eyes in her escort’s direction, “one is forced to learn how to do certain things that would be easier without them. Such as climbing trees, dancing, or running.”

“So you are a champion at running, too?” Mr Darcy surmised.

Elizabeth straightened her shoulders and adopted the most haughty look she could muster with her nose raised high and a single eyebrow arched in disdain. “You would doubt the prowess of an accomplished woman, sir?”

“Not at all,” Mr Darcy chuckled, shaking his head, “though I do doubt you could best me in a race.”

“Oh ho! Is that pride I hear? Well, I hope you are deserving of it, sir.”

“Pride,” he admonished, mimicking Elizabeth’s hauteur to a degree far beyond her own ability and eliciting a snort of laughter from her, “where there is a real superiority of skill, pride will always be under good regulation.”

“While I concede that you are more capable than I at affecting an air of superiority when called for—”

“Why, thank you, Miss Bennet.”

“—I shall defend my hoydenish abilities to the last! On your mark, sir.”

Mr Darcy stared at her in some amazement as Elizabeth dropped his arm and loosened the knot of ribbon at her throat. Her bonnet fell down her back and into the tall grass, forgotten immediately once it was gone, as she fixed her companion with a challenging smirk.

“You mean to race? Now?” Mr Darcy’s tone was all astonishment at this development.

Elizabeth laughed, loud and confident. “To the chestnut,” she pointed to the tall, leafy presence just beyond the smithy where it stood as the most proper landmark for this kind of contest upon its slope. “Unless, of course, you are afraid that I shall best you after all.”

Mr Darcy still appeared uncertain, his mouth dipped in a slight frown and his eyes assessing her.

“Very well, then, I shall accept your concession and—hey!”

It was Elizabeth’s turn to be astonished as Mr Darcy, with a smug smirk, took off in the direction of the chestnut tree at a full tilt. Belatedly realizing that he had not only accepted her challenge but also cheated to gain an additional advantage over her, she laughed and darted off after him, fistfuls of her skirts clutched in her fingers.

“I thought you were going to best me, Miss Bennet!” Mr Darcy called over his shoulder.

Elizabeth put on another burst of speed; she was gaining on him, but only slightly. “It is ungentlemanly to cheat a lady, sir!”

Mr Darcy did, indeed, win their little competition, though perhaps by not as much as he had expected to. Elizabeth, however, conceded that he likely would have won regardless of his playful bit of chicanery as, not only was she hampered by long skirts, but shorter legs, as well. Whereas Mr Darcy practically flew over the tall grass, Elizabeth had been forced to beat it out of her way as she had progressed toward their end point.

Collapsed against the trunk of the tree and enjoying the shade of the canopy above, Elizabeth considered that there were many facets of Mr Darcy yet unexplored. She had assumed him incapable of mischievous play, had considered him too serious to lower himself to her level of silliness, yet it appeared that this was not entirely the case. When the situation called for it, Mr Darcy could express a surprising amount of levity.

Elizabeth turned her head, her curls lightly scraping against the bark of the tree, so that she might grin at her companion. “I admit, sir, that your pride may not have been misplaced.”

“As I must admit that you are as accomplished at the hoydenish arts as any young lady I have ever encountered,” Mr Darcy teased in return, his own lips quirked.

“I suppose we each defied the expectations of the other, then.”

“I suppose we did.”

Oooh! As I would say nowadays: it is so cute! If you have liked this relationship, there is much more too.

What about buying Dare to Refuse such a Man?

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Before buying it, you can check more about the book on the other stops of the tour, it is highly recommended!

REVIEW

Generally speaking I like Mr Bennet and in some stories he is just awesome, however, he is horrible in Dare to Refuse Such a Man!!

Nope, it is not because he does not like Darcy and that’s why he refuses his consent to marry Elizabeth. The reason for the refusal is totally selfish and extremely annoying when you get to know it!

However, let’s talk about the lovebirds. They story start in Derbyshire, when Lizzie travels with the Gardiners to Lambton and this is before Mr Bingley rents Netherfield. Therefore, there are not big misunderstandings, he is loved in his area and they get to know each other and share lovely moments like the one on the deleted scene.

Mr Bennet removes Elizabeth from this county when he finally reads the letter from Mr Gardiner informing him that Mr Darcy wants to marry her daughter. As I said, no explanation, no apology, nothing to her favourite daughter or as he thinks of her: his heir…

You will like a lot of things, like a strong Mrs Bennet (love her!) or a jealous Caroline (sorry, I forgot that that is canon!). Wickham appears and he is bad 😦 and cheeky on the scene he shows himself.

I do not really want to tell you about other characters because I do not want you to get ideas around, I will only mention Georgiana who makes Darcy realises the Elizabeth is a gentleman’s daughter and so far they are equal 😀

I highly recommend you the story even if I have not been able to give you more but somebody’s cousin is despicable and more malleable than we thought! (what? I do not know who you are talking about)

Quills & Quartos Publishing are offering an ebook of Dare to Refuse Such a Man to commenters at my blog stop. Winners will be chosen a week after the blog tour ends (May 7). Winners’ names will be posted on the Q&Q FB and Instagram pages. Good luck!

“The Predisposition of Miss Elizabeth Bennet” by Hunter Quinn, excerpt, review and giveaway

Hello to all,

I hope you are doing well and having time to read. I am getting there, reading as much as I can on this few moments that I have to spare, but it is worth it.

I am very glad to have an author visiting us for the first time: Hunter Quinn, who is bringing her book The Predisposition of Miss Elizabeth Bennet.

Hunter Quinn is a British writer, residing in the southwest of England. She is an avid reader, no doubt due to the influence of her mother, an English classics’ professor and lecturer. 

Having grown up a stone’s throw from Bath and always surrounded by the words of literary greats, Hunter first discovered Jane Austen at a young age. But it was the ubiquitous scene where Mr. Darcy—portrayed by Colin Firth (a moment of silence and applause)—first emerged from the lake in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that cemented her love for Jane Austen and the regency romance genre of spirited damsels, dashing gentleman, and glittering ballrooms. Afterwards, Hunter walked through life daydreaming and writing ‘what if’ scenarios between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy but never had the courage to share them. 

Once the lockdown went into effect, Hunter took the plunge and began sharing her first novel on well-known JAFF sites. The praise and interest of readers gave her the confidence to submit The Predisposition of Miss Elizabeth Bennet to Meryton Press Publishing… and the rest is history!

I am glad that Hunter Quinn had the courage to share her ‘what ifs’ 🙂 If you want to follow her, check her Author Page on Facebook.

Let me share the blurb of the book before Hunter shares a very good excerpt from the book:

An insulting proposal without an explanatory letter…how can they possibly reconcile?

When her sister Lydia elopes without a trace, Elizabeth Bennet must put aside her predisposition against Mr. Darcy—the man whose hand she refused months earlier—and plead for his assistance in locating the wayward couple. As a result, they face daunting hurdles with help from well-loved friends and interference from old rivals. Will their struggles result in permanent estrangement or a love match?

Oh, Lydia! Really? Let’s recap: Darcy proposes at the parsonage, there is no letter, Lydia elopes, Elizabeth asks Darcy for help… what could go wrong?

Hello Ana and thank you very much for hosting me as your guest on My Vices & Weaknesses!  

For those of you who have been following this blog tour, the excerpts I have chosen are in chronological order. In this next passage we learn more about how Elizabeth is feeling in the aftermath of her meeting with Mr. Darcy. Mr. Gardiner has received an astonishing letter, and we are, like a fly on the wall, listening to a conversation between Elizabeth, her aunt, and her uncle. Will Elizabeth be able to keep her composure…?

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy this next installment.

When Elizabeth found Aunt Gardiner in the drawing room, she was surprised to see her uncle there as well.

“Now that you have joined us, Lizzy, I have some astonishing news that might interest you both,” exclaimed Mr Gardiner.

“What is it, Uncle?”

“I was to leave for work when I received a note from none other than Mr Darcy,” he said. “I believe you are acquainted with the gentleman, Lizzy. This is the same Mr Darcy who refused to stand up with you at the assembly and supposedly treated Mr Wickham very ill!”

When Elizabeth failed to respond, he continued. “Does this not shock you, especially after his behaviour in Meryton?”

“Yes indeed, Uncle. What could he mean by contacting you?” said Elizabeth, feigning ignorance.

“Well, as you mentioned before, he truly is a man of few words.” He chuckled to himself. “He starts with a terse introduction and then writes that he has received some upsetting information regarding our mutual acquaintance, Mr Wickham. Mr Darcy goes on to say he does not wish to commit anything further to paper but asks whether he could call on me this afternoon as he may be of some assistance to us.” After he concluded, Mr Gardiner looked at Elizabeth expectantly.

“Mr Darcy wants to help us?” Mrs Gardiner asked her husband with a look of incredulity. She then turned to Elizabeth. “But Lizzy, if he is as disagreeable as you said he was, why should he want to offer his assistance?”

“I am as surprised as you are, Aunt. I cannot imagine what has compelled him.”

“Lizzy, I must admit I was astonished by your description of the young Mr Darcy. As you know, I grew up in Lambton, which is but five miles from Pemberley, and the Darcys have long been respected landlords and members of society. Their tenants and servants never have an unkind word to say about them.” Squeezing the hand of her husband, she continued, “I confess I am slightly giddy at the prospect of him visiting our home, Edward.”

Elizabeth felt distressed for having to deceive her relatives and prayed they would not discover her role in the matter.

“How did you respond, Uncle? Will you meet with him?”

“Of course! We are in no position to refuse someone of his influence, especially as he may be the key to locating our Lydia. I am feeling more optimistic now than last night…” Mr Gardiner gave a little sigh at the reminder of the severity of the situation.

“Dearest Lizzy,” Mrs Gardiner said, “I can feel your apprehension, but let us try to be open-minded. The gentleman must be a good fellow if he is offering to help with such a delicate situation when it concerns him not. What should it matter to him what happens to our family? We should consider the possibility that, since we were wrong about Mr Wickham’s character, we may have been wrong regarding Mr Darcy’s as well.”

Elizabeth disagreed with her aunt but lacked the energy to argue. She understood what desperation can drive a person to do and still maintained that Mr Wickham would be an honourable gentleman were it not for the injustice he had suffered at Mr Darcy’s hand. Therefore, she gave her aunt what she hoped was a reassuring smile and then looked down with a small frown. Her feelings and thoughts regarding Mr Darcy were in turmoil, and the conflicting emotions made her headache. How could one man cause her head to rage and her heart to flutter? No! He may be handsome, and perhaps he was occasionally caring and gentle, but he was also someone who enjoyed toying with people’s livelihood as his wealth and power allowed him to do all his life. She vowed that he would never be able to wield his influence over her. He was helping because he ought, seeing how he was the root cause of Mr Wickham’s misfortunes. Mr Darcy was still the same disagreeable man she knew in Hertfordshire and Kent.

“Oh, Lizzy, I almost forgot,” said Mrs Gardiner as she passed her a letter. “This came for you this morning. I believe it is from Jane. Forgive me for not giving it to you when it arrived. I thought it best to let you rest. You have been through a great deal of shock.”

“You are right. I have not been well lately.”

Elizabeth tore open the letter, daring to hope Jane had written to inform her that Lydia had returned home, and this had all been a silly misunderstanding. Her shoulders drooped as she read in silence, and upon finishing the letter, she looked up to inform her aunt and uncle that Jane would be joining them to help recover Lydia.

“Jane writes that we should expect her by tomorrow afternoon at the latest. I confess it will be a great comfort to have her here.”

“I agree, and I am glad she is coming,” replied Mr Gardiner. “I sent an express to Longbourn before I retired to apprise them of your father’s condition, and it will reach Jane before she departs. In any case, we shall ready another room in anticipation of Mrs Bennet’s arrival, as she might want to be here for Mr Bennet. It will be a bit of a squeeze, but we shall manage.” And with that, Mr Gardiner bowed to the ladies and left for his study.

A servant arrived shortly to inform Elizabeth that she could visit her father. Sitting at his bedside, she read to him in nervous anticipation of Mr Darcy’s impending visit.

What do you think? If you have not read the previous excerpts, I highly recommend you to go and check them, I am writing the blog tour below. Is it true that he has got to know some info or is there anyone who has asked for help? 😀

BLOG TOUR

No, I have not forgotten about my review but it is coming just after I remind you of the schedule of the blog tour.

April 19th From Pemberley to Milton

April 20th Probably at the Library

April 21st My Jane Austen Book Club

April 22nd Diary of an Eccentric

April 23rd My Vices and Weaknesses

April 24th Donadee’s Corner

April 26th Austenesque Reviews

REVIEW

Elizabeth is pretty annoying for part of the book. Even if she must ask Darcy for help, she keeps thinking the worst of him, however, as you can imagine, that changes at some point…

As you have read on the blurb, there was no letter after the horrendous proposal, so she has no idea of how badly he has judged Darcy. However, she is so stubborn!

The story is good and the annoyance you can feel towards Elizabeth is needed but I got far too annoyed. Wickham has eloped with Lydia and she still defends him and blames Darcy for where Wickham is now in life!!! However, Lydia even gets a grip after listening to Wickham talking to Denny and boom! (I like this scene). Although, even if I like that Lydia, she is very lucky to

Darcy, what can I say! He is so tired of getting Elizabeth’s recriminations and putting up with her bad opinion of himself that he is almost on the verge of giving her up. He technically does it but words are words and sometimes you have to eat what you have said.

Apart from Elizabeth and Darcy, and Lydia and Wickham, there are many more things happening and I can tell you that they are very well written and you will enjoy them.

One last thing, Wickham is believed to be dead but… he is not and he has an extremely bad scene. Despicable!!

Meryton Press will give away one eBook of The Predisposition of Miss Elizabeth Bennet to one of the readers of this blog who comments on this post. The giveaway is international and it will finish on Monday 26th of April 2021 at 11:59 CET. Good luck!

“Dangerous Magic” by Monica Fairview, review + giveaway

An enchanting tale of Regency England, a forced marriage, and two magicians who must work together to save the Kingdom. 
Elizabeth Bennet is stunned when the Royal Mages come to her peaceful country home of Longbourn to take her away. She is even more bewildered when she is commanded to marry a powerful mage by the name of Fitzwilliam Darcy. She has always dreamed of marrying for love, and an arranged marriage with an arrogant stranger was never part of her plans. 
But Darcy and Elizabeth have no choice in the matter. Uniting their two forms of magic is essential for the Kingdom to defeat Napoleon’s mages. Darcy and Elizabeth may dislike each other on sight, but they must overcome their differences and find common ground before it is too late. Fortunately, it is not long before the sparks begin to fly between them.
Join the beloved characters of Pride and Prejudice in this Jane Austen Variation, a bewitching story of determination, love, and hope against all odds. 
Dangerous Magic is a complete stand-alone book, but the series continues as Darcy and Elizabeth work together to face more challenges ahead of them. 

Dear all,

How are you doing? We are in Spring! Flowers around and a lovely sun too. Therefore, it is a great time to read Monica Fairview’s latest novel Dangerous Magic if you have not read it yet.

I want to ask you if you have read the last sentence on the blurb: the series continues… That is a great piece of news! I will tell you what I think about this book in a bit but I cannot wait to read the next book 🙂

The author

Monica Fairview writes Jane Austen sequels and variations as well as Regencies. Her latest novel is a Pride and Prejudice fantasy variation, Dangerous Magic. Her biggest claim to fame is living in Elizabeth Gaskell’s house in Manchester, long before the house was restored. After studying in the USA, she taught literature, then became an acupuncturist. She now lives near London. 

Monica loves anything to do with the nineteenth century, and obsessively follows every period drama she can find. Some of her favorites are ‘North and South’, ‘Bright Star’ and ‘War and Peace’, and a dozen others that she couldn’t possibly list here. Of course, she has watched Pride and Prejudice (1995 and 2005) more times than she could count on her hands and toes.

Monica enjoys reading fantasy and post-apocalyptic novels but avoids zombies like the plague. She loves to laugh, drink tea, and visit National Trust historic properties [those were the days!], and she is convinced that her two cats can understand everything she says.

You can find Monica in the following places:

WEBSITE | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST

You will be able to read it in a second but I highly recommend you to check Dangerous Magic and you can do it here:

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REVIEW

What I like the most is how they grow from annoyance (forced marriage), to kindness and without realising to love. They only get to realise when there are more obstacles for them.

Apologies, I am getting ahead of the story but I can only say that this is a sweet story with angst. How does it work? I love how Monica portrays Elizabeth since she is in her house and asked to leave her family to marry some super wizard because apparently she is the best magical match for him to protect the country. It is also good to see Darcy finally getting engaged to his cousin to get this stopped due to the defence of the country. All very patriotic but also there are others who are not so in favour of the country as they are of their own success.

Darcy and Elizabeth have to marry because if they are going to be magic partners, Elizabeth’s reputation would be tainted. Therefore, there is no other reason: marriage is the solution and with marriage, he put a ring on it. I mean, on Elizabeth’s finger 🙂

They work really hard to bond, they look for help but there is so much fire between them (literally). Everybody is counting on them but they are trying everything. It is fair to say that Darcy is pretty prejudiced at the beginning and, obviously, Elizabeth is pretty stubborn but they tried.

They had help from Lord Matlock (I love his character) or even the non-magical Colonel Fitzwilliam or Bingley. Even Caroline can seem nice once she gets more time with Elizabeth and also compared to some new characters.

I have truly enjoyed their relationship and how many obstacles they have to sort. The story flows, the writing is beautiful and I cannot wait to read what more happens. In this story we see the magic more from the defensive side but I am looking forward to reading some offensive with these two together.

However, do not think that because there is a SPOILER ALERT…

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a happy ending, it is actually a total happy ending. Being in war against France may not be the best scenario for these two to continue their marriage.

Blog tour

Do not miss great stops on this tour. You will get so much more about Dangerous Magic!

One winner will get a ebook copy of Dangerous Magic. Monica will choose a winner from the comments on this post before the end of the blog tour. Good luck!

“Interrupted Plans” by Brigid Huey, excerpt and giveaway

Dear all,

I have to confess that I have a big bookish problem lately because I barely have time to read and there are so many fantastic books being published lately that I want to pull my hair. One of those intriguing books is Interrupted Plans by Brigid Huey (I hope to read it this month or the next one!). Only the blurb calls me to read it but, once you read the scene that Brigid is sharing with us, I am sure that you will want to read more of those looks! Let me allow you to read the blurb:

Suppose Elizabeth Bennet never visited Pemberley…

It is October of 1812. Elizabeth Bennet and her family have seen dramatic changes in the past few months—none of them welcome. Her sister Jane needs a fresh start, and Elizabeth is no less eager to leave behind the pain and confusion of not accepting Mr. Darcy’s proposal.

Fitzwilliam Darcy has not seen Elizabeth since he offered for her—and she adamantly refused him. When she appears in London, he is determined to gain her friendship and make amends. When a carriage mishap throws them together, Darcy does all he can to demonstrate his changed behavior.

Though their renewed acquaintance seems to be growing into a genuine friendship, a family secret constrains Elizabeth. As she falls deeper in love with the man she rejected, does she dare tell him the truth?

The blurb already starts well with Elizabeth having read the letter but not having seen him at Pemberley, as you have read, this is the first time after the proposal… Second, who is Mr. W…? Oops, that’s not on the blurb, but there will be a bit of info soon in this post.

What family secret do we have? Is it Lydia? Is it something else? I really want to know!!

Let me (re)introduce you to the author of Interrupted Plans:

Brigid Huey has been in love with Jane Austen since first seeing the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice as a young girl. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two kids and spends her free time reading and writing. She also has an assortment of birds, including five chickens and too many parakeets. She dreams of living on a farm where she can raise as many chickens, ducks, and goats as she likes and write romance novels in an airy study overlooking the wildflowers.

Follow and contact Birgid Huey on:

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I am very glad that Brigid is sharing her latest book with us and also is giving us a peek in the story with this short but very interesting excerpt! (remember the looks)

Thank you so much for having me on My Vices and Weaknesses today! I’m excited to share another excerpt from my book, Interrupted Plans. In this scene, Elizabeth and Darcy are sharing a meal with her family and a new friend, a Mr. Wessex of Bedfordshire and Scotland.

“As I am sure you can guess: I am travelling north as well. I am sorry to hear about your troubles, Miss Elizabeth.”

“The meeting of so many friends has softened our inconvenience considerably, Mr Wessex,” Aunt Gardiner replied with a smile.

Looking at the two men side by side, Elizabeth was struck by Mr Wessex’s youthful appearance. He seemed much younger than Mr Darcy. She knew Mr Darcy had been given all the cares and responsibilities of an adult at a young age. Perhaps his bearing exuded more maturity by habit.

“You say you are heading north, sir,” Uncle Gardiner said. “Do you reside in Derbyshire as Mr Darcy does?”

“No, sir. I am travelling even farther north. I have an estate in Scotland that I am attempting to make prosperous once again.”

“Mr Wessex is considering sheep farming, Uncle,” Elizabeth supplied.

“Yet he is unwilling to remove the crofts, are you not Wessex?” Darcy added.

“Indeed! Darcy here is giving me a great amount of counsel on the matter. I mean to keep the small farms and add sheep farming. It will be a difficult business, but I feel confident that my tenants and I shall be all the stronger for it once we have accomplished our goal.”

“I am glad to hear that you are keeping the crofts, sir. When we spoke about the matter the other day, you seemed rather undecided.”

“You are very astute, Miss Elizabeth. In truth, I lacked pride in my convictions. It was Darcy who helped me to see what I truly desired to do with the estate. He has confidence in spades, you know.”

Elizabeth could not help but glance at Darcy, though she wished she had not a moment later. He was staring at her, his face a mixture of emotions she could not interpret.

“My confidence in estate matters comes from time and experience, as I have been managing Pemberley for many years now. It is possible to be too sure of your opinions, Wessex. Better to think deeply about them, as you have. Pride in your convictions can too easily become arrogance.”

“Well said!” Mr Gardiner raised his wine glass in salute.

Elizabeth could not help responding. “Mr Darcy, I do not believe anyone who truly knows you would call you arrogant or prideful.”

He looked at her again, their gazes locking across the table. For a moment, Elizabeth forgot all about Mr Wessex and her family. All she saw was Darcy, his dark eyes burning into hers with an intensity that took her breath away.

Can you imagine those dark eyes? I definitely can and I could imagine that Elizabeth may have shivered apart from forgetting all about Mr. Wessex and her family.

Are you ready to buy it? If you want, you could do it here:

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Blog tour schedule

Would you like to know a bit more about Interrupted Plans? Just check the rest of the blog tour and enjoy!!

March 4 My Jane Austen Book Club

March 5 So little time…

March 8 From Pemberley to Milton

March 9 My Vices and Weaknesses

March 10 Diary of an Eccentric

March 11 Savvy Verse & Wit

March 12 Austenesque Reviews

March 15 Babblings of a Bookworm

Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of Brigid Huey’s Interrupted Plans, and the giveaway is international. Yes, eight winners from the tour will get one ebook copy of this interesting novel! If you want to participate, click the link below and follow instructions. Good luck!

Rafflecopter – Interrupted Plans

I have to say that the cover and backcover are amazing!!

“Nine Ladies” by Heather Moll, cut scene + giveaway

Nine ladies? Nine Bennet sisters??? Nine ladies of the ton? Yes, I know, nothing like it. I am aware that you have already read a lot about Heather Moll’s latest book Nine Ladies and you are aware that they are not physical ladies, or, are they? 😉

I am really looking forward to reading this book, and in case you have not read about it, here you have the blurb:

The Darcy family has grudgingly kept the secret about the power contained within a nearby stone circle called Nine Ladies. Fitzwilliam Darcy is forced to contend with this secret when a young woman from the future appears at Pemberley. Until the opinionated stranger can return to when she belongs, Darcy is responsible not only for her safety, but also for ensuring that nothing she does threatens Pemberley’s well-being.

Elizabeth Bennet has returned to England to take care of her estranged father, and her life was off track long before she walked into that stone circle at sunset. She quickly discovers that, as a poor and single woman, she’ll have to rely on the arrogant Mr. Darcy. She tries her best to survive in the nineteenth-century until she can return home but, as she and Darcy grow closer, the truth she knows about his and Pemberley’s bleak future becomes harder to keep.

How can Darcy and Elizabeth overcome 200 years of differences in this era-spanning love story?

Seriously, I am totally hooked with this blurb, even if I would not know anything else, I would have it straight away on my TBR pile on the top top.

A love story with 200 years in between. Darcy and Elizabeth, the Regency Darcy and a modern Elizabeth, just love it! Am I the only one who wants to know what Elizabeth knows about Pemberley??

Don’t you like the cover? I find it very cute.

Let me introduce you to Heather in case you have not read about her when she has visited before:

Heather Moll is an avid reader of mysteries and biographies with a masters in information science. She found Jane Austen later than she should have and made up for lost time by devouring her letters and unpublished works, joining JASNA, and spending too much time researching the Regency era. She is the author of Nine Ladies, Two More Days at Netherfield, and His Choice of a Wife. She lives with her husband and son and struggles to balance all of the important things, like whether or not to buy groceries or stay home and write. Visit her blog and subscribe to her newsletter for a freebie and monthly updates. Moreover you can follow her on:

Website: https://www.heathermollauthor.com

FB: @HeatherMollAuthor

Instagram: @HeatherMollAuthor

Twitter: @HMollAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/heathermoll

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07V5KLGB8

If you read me from time to time, you may remember that I like to share excerpts when I am participating in a blog tour, however, I also enjoy the cut scenes that do not make it to the final editing for different reason. I hope you like Miss Bingley is all her jealousy!

Thank you so much for welcoming me today, Ana! I’m excited to share a cut scene from Nine Ladies with your readers. This was a scene toward the middle of the story while Darcy is considering Elizabeth’s impending return to the 21st century. The Bingleys—who don’t know anything about the time travel portal at the Nine Ladies stone circle—have arrived at Pemberley. Darcy is walking outside with Miss Bingley and is determined that no one learn that his other houseguest is not his housekeeper’s cousin but is actually from 2011. As you can imagine, Miss Bingley is none too thrilled that another single woman is in residence at Pemberley. The point of this scene was to show her jealousy and Darcy’s strengthening attachment to a woman who is out of her time. In the end, this scene wasn’t necessary to get any of those points across, so it went.

June 7, 1811

15 days until Summer Solstice

“I admire your kindness in allowing your housekeeper’s relation to stay,” Miss Bingley said to him after she appreciated his taste in having his gardener plant a cluster of purple flowers he could not name. “It shows a generosity of spirit most gentleman would not allow.”

“I fail to see how allowing the relative of my most dependable servant to remain in my home for the spring is anything more than my Christian duty.”

“Oh, of course, any Christian gentleman would do the same. But to allow a poor, friendless woman to be on equal terms with Miss Darcy is nothing short of munificence.”

“Miss Bennet is the daughter of a gentleman.”

“Still, Eliza Bennet is a woman with no connections who, at times, gives her opinion too decidedly and at other times is entirely silent. She has nothing to recommend her. Neither fortune, nor friends, nor talent. Nor beauty,” she added.

Darcy kept his silence.

Miss Bingley tightened her grip on his arm. “You would not countenance the nonsense she put forth yesterday while you and Charles were away. She attempted to tell Miss Darcy that if women were educated the way gentlemen are, they might consider themselves entitled to pursue their own happiness on the strangest of terms!”

“What terms are those?” Darcy asked, suspecting the answer.

“That their own desires could be anything other than being content to be a dutiful daughter or a submissive wife! Mrs. Younge was gone from the room, but I told Miss Darcy that Miss Bennet was misguided.”

“Is vocational female education an insult to your sensibilities?”

“If it comes at the price of a woman of good breeding acquiring the necessary accomplishments to secure herself a husband, I must speak against it. As would any respectable person, man or woman.”

Darcy had never given the matter any consideration until he met Miss Bennet and learned what sort of a world she lived in. “I see no reason why women ought not to be permitted to act like the rational creatures that they are.”

“I heartily agree with you! Every rational woman wishes to put her life entirely into the hands of her husband.”

Darcy repressed a sigh.

“Your sister tells me you often walk with Miss Bennet or take her in your curricle. I cannot comprehend what such a woman has to speak about that is not tiresome to a gentleman of your intelligence.”

“We can invite her to join us and you may find out for yourself on what subjects Miss Bennet prefers to speak.”

“When will poor unconnected Eliza Bennet return to her friends in the Canadas?”

“She is to leave on the twenty-second to sail from Portsmouth to New York. From there the British consul can help grant her passage north.” He hoped to put off further questions. He had not found a specific ship leaving for North America around the solstice.

“It would be a shame if some French privateer captured their ship and took her prisoner. Or if the talk of war with the Americans prevented her safe passage from New York to,” Miss Bingley wrinkled her nose, “where does she live?”

“York.”

“Good heavens!” She cackled. “Do they have brick buildings? Did she grow up in a canvas tent?”

“I understand there are many homes in York that display a considerable degree of taste.”

“But consider the limited society of an insignificant town in the wilderness. I wonder if Eliza Bennet has even been to an assembly.”

“You may inquire about her experiences. I have no interest in hearing ladies talk over an evening of dancing.”

“We must have a little dance at Pemberley! We can demonstrate to the uncultured savage how proper society dances before Eliza Bennet returns to where she belongs.”

“Then I must ask Miss Bennet for her hand for a set.”

At that moment they were met from another walk by Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bennet herself. Darcy could tell by the set of her shoulders and the way she held his gaze that she had heard, at least, the end of Miss Bingley’s conversation.

“I…I did not know that you intended to walk,” said Miss Bingley, understanding that her comments were overheard.

“Oh, I enjoy walking. Mr. Darcy and I in the habit of coming out while Miss Darcy has lessons with Mrs. Younge. It is one of my greatest pleasures while I have been at Pemberley.”

Miss Bennet spoke sweetly, her expression bland and cheerful, but Miss Bingley’s jealousy rose like a specter to join them. Darcy tried not to flinch when Miss Bingley’s tightened her grip further. Miss Bennet might not have noticed his reaction, but she clearly observed Miss Bingley’s possessive hold and tried to hide a smile.

“You used me ill,” Mrs. Hurst said, ending the awkward pause, “running away without telling me that you were coming out.” Then, taking his disengaged arm, she left Miss Bennet to walk by herself. Their rudeness embarrassed him, and he suggested finding a walk wide enough to include Miss Bennet.

“No, I have had the pleasure of Mr. Darcy’s company on daily walks for weeks. You old friends must have a lot to catch up on, and I would just be in the way.” She caught his eye, and her laughing tone made it clear that—although she knew how uncomfortable he was—she was leaving him anyway. “I will keep Georgiana company while she practices with Mrs. Younge.” He watched her run off toward the house, before Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst called his attention and led him away. Darcy spent the next hour outside with two accomplished, diverting ladies, and he was desperately, soul-achingly lonely.

She was leaving him anyway.

Miss Bennet was leaving forever in a fortnight. He would do well to remember that.

It’s no spoiler to say that Darcy is going to have a hard time dealing with Miss Bennet returning to the future on the solstice! You’ll have to read Nine Ladies to find out what Elizabeth is thinking about Darcy at this point in the story, and what will happen on the solstice.

“Muahahaha”, that’s what Elizabeth is thinking when he leaves Mr. Darcy with the Bingley sisters, don’t you think? I can understand that this scene may not get any point across but I still enjoy it. I can totally imagine a very proper Mr. Darcy but with his eyes showing longing and loneliness once “Eliza” leaves him with the other two. What I am also eager to read is their interactions, their conversation, a 21st century Elizabeth Bennet and, as I mentioned before, a Regency Darcy. Their discussions must be something!

What about buying the book? You could do it here:

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Blog Tour

Lovely book with a lovely blog tour. A lot of different posts for you to enjoy much more about Nine Ladies. Have a look at the ones that started it on Monday and Tuesday, and do not forget to check the ones coming!

There are six ebook copies for six winners during this blog that finishes on the 13th of February. If you want to participate, click the link below and follow the instructions. Good luck!

Rafflecopter – Nine Ladies

“Determination” by C.P. Odom, excerpt + giveaway

Happy New Year to everyone! I am aware that we are almost at the end of January but as it is my first post, I thought I could start for hoping that everybody is feeling well.

I am glad to have a visit from C.P. Odom again and in this occasion he is introducing his latest book: Determination. I like the title, it is promising, isn’t it? We like determined people.

What is this book about? Let’s have a look:

“Love at first sight” is a laughable concept in the considered opinion of Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam and never occurs in real life—certainly not in the life of an experienced soldier. In fact, until he observes the smitten nature of his cousin Fitzwilliam Darcy, he doubts that fervent love truly exists. Marriage, after all, is a matter of money, social standing, and property.

But his cousin becomes besotted with Elizabeth Bennet, the lovely but penniless daughter of a Hertfordshire gentleman, and is determined to make her his wife. Unfortunately, emotions overwhelm his good judgment, and he botches an offer of marriage.

When the colonel attempts to untangle the mess, his own world becomes almost as chaotic when he makes the accidental acquaintance of Miss Jane Bennet, Elizabeth’s beloved elder sister. Can emotions previously deemed impossible truly seize such a level-headed person as himself? And can impassible obstacles deter a man of true determination?

Ooops! Colonel and Jane? But Bingley is there… as you could see later. Darcy being besotted with Elizabeth does not surprise us much, does it? although I want to see how similar or different is his proposal. Back to the colonel, when does he meet Jane? How is that “accidental” acquaintance? How determined is he? What do Darcy and Elizabeth do?

C.P. Odom may need to answer all these questions but I think it may be as entertaining to read Determination. If somebody does not know Colin, he is introducing himself. Welcome again!

By training, I’m a retired engineer, born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Sandwiched in there was a stint in the Marines, and I’ve lived in Arizona since 1977, working first for Motorola and then General Dynamics.

I raised two sons with my first wife, Margaret, before her untimely death from cancer, and my second wife, Jeanine, and I adopted two girls from China. The older of my daughters recently graduated with an engineering degree and is working in Phoenix, and the younger girl is heading toward a nursing degree.

I’ve always been a voracious reader and collector of books, and my favorite genres are science fiction, historical fiction, histories, and, in recent years, reading (and later writing) Jane Austen romantic fiction. This late-developing interest was indirectly stimulated when I read my late wife’s beloved Jane Austen books after her passing.  One thing led to another, and I now have five novels published:  A Most Civil Proposal (2013), Consequences (2014), Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets (2015), and Perilous Siege (2019), and A Covenant of Marriage (2020). Four of my books are now audiobooks, Most Civil Proposal, Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets, Consequences, and A Covenant of Marriage.

I retired from engineering in 2011, but I still live in Arizona with my family, a pair of dogs (one of which is stubbornly untrainable), and a pair of rather strange cats.  My hobbies are reading, woodworking, and watching college football and LPGA golf (the girls are much nicer than the guys, as well as being fiendishly good putters). Lately I’ve reverted back to my younger years and have taken up building plastic model aircraft and ships (when I can find the time).

I am glad to be able to participate on this blog tour, but I must tell you to check the other entries, so far you can learn a lot about Determination. Have a look!

18th January 2021 Babblings of a Bookworm

19th January So little time…

20th January Diary of an Eccentric

21st January My Vices and Weaknesses

22nd January Austenesque Reviews

25th January Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

26th January Donadee’s Corner

When you read the excerpt that C.P. Odom has for us, you may then go and check if you can peek more inside this book!

This excerpt is from Chapter 12 of my new novel, Determination. Previously, Colonel Fitzwilliam invited Jane, Elizabeth, and their aunt and uncle to be his guests at the theatre. Following that evening, Elizabeth tells the colonel that she has decided to allow Darcy another chance to seek her favour by formally courting her in the usual fashion. As her price for this change of mind, she wants Darcy to confess what he did to separate Bingley from her sister. This excerpt deals with Bingley’s reaction to the express he receives from Darcy on that subject.

Chapter 12

Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

– Robert Heinlein

Thursday, May 6, 1812
Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Charles Bingley was not in a particularly good mood as he cantered into the stable yard behind his cousin’s estate. A good part of his discontent was the thought of going into the house for breakfast. Despite the fact that he had worked up a good appetite with his brisk morning ride, he could depend on Caroline arriving at the breakfast table as soon as the meal was announced, and he found it wearing to have to listen to her incessant complaints: Scarborough was a boring town, there was nothing to do, and why could they not return to London?

As he swung down from the saddle and handed the reins to a stable boy, he shook his head in irritation with his sister. He knew that he should not allow her to spoil what ought to be a relaxing visit with their many relatives in the area, but he did not seem able to ignore her as he used to. He had tried to inform her that there was no reason for her dissatisfaction since Scarborough was believed to be England’s first seaside resort and was a popular destination for the wealthy of London. But she had ignored him, and he knew why. She wanted to return to London in order to continue her useless pursuit of Darcy, hoping for an invitation to spend the summer months at Pemberley away from the unhealthy streets of London. That would be pleasant enough, but Caroline could not accept that Darcy was simply not interested in her beyond her relationship as a sister to his good friend—certainly not as a wife despite her beauty, wealth, and supercilious manners cultivated and honed by the elite school she and Louisa had both attended.

I am not sure just what kind of woman Darcy is looking for, he thought, but it is certainly not Caroline. When Darcy made that comment at Netherfield about a woman not being truly accomplished unless she could improve her mind by extensive reading, she did not realize he was describing her. Caroline might read, but her book selections do nothing to broaden her horizons.

He was at times tempted to respond with one of his late mother’s favourite sayings when Caroline was young that “boring people are the first to be bored. Are you a boring person, Caroline?”

He smiled at the thought as he walked into the house. He knew he could not be so cold as to repeat his mother’s words, but it was tempting. Very tempting.

The butler must have heard his footsteps as he went down the hall towards the stairs since he stepped out of his little cubby. “An express arrived for you while you were out, sir. From what the express rider said, it appears to be rather important.” He gestured to a silver salver on a small table. Bingley thanked him and picked up the letter, noting it was from Darcy.

I wonder what of importance Darcy has to relate, he thought idly. He, of course, knows that we planned to stay several more weeks before returning to London. And that we shall do, no matter how much Caroline complains. Perhaps it is about that town house I have been interested in buying. In any case, I am sure it concerns nothing of real importance.

However, despite what the butler had said about the importance of Darcy’s express, Bingley was too hungry to read it just now and instead hurried to the breakfast room.

It was almost an hour later before Bingley climbed the stairs and stalked down the hallway to his room. His breakfast sat like a lump of lead in his stomach after barely being able to restrain his temper as Caroline launched into her usual litany of complaints, and he threw Darcy’s express onto the writing desk while he went to the sideboard and filled a glass from the decanter of port. He was so upset that it took a valiant effort to pass by the brandy in favour of the lesser-strength beverage, and it was almost a quarter hour more before he retrieved the express.

He noted the date and time written in the corner and shook his head. Darcy wrote this on Saturday and it is just now arriving, he thought in disgust. That is almost five days! It only takes about three days by coach. Depending on the roads, of course.

Still, he was not that surprised. A postal rider travelled only about three miles in an hour, and even the usual express rider could only manage to increase that to four miles. And they could not travel by day and night; the roads were safer now that so many turnpikes had been opened, but travelling at night was still a risky business. He knew Darcy must have paid extra for even a five-day delivery.

But Bingley was not an overly introspective man, so he shrugged and opened the express.

***

Three quarters of an hour and another glass of port later, Bingley was vaguely conscious of a knock at his door, but he ignored it as he concentrated on trying to make both his message and his penmanship intelligible. The knock came again, and again he ignored it as his quill scratched over the paper.

“Charles?”

His sister’s voice became more strident as she repeated his name. It was only after two more repetitions that Bingley looked up from his letter.

“Go away, Caroline,” he said as he saw his sister. “I am busy. I have several expresses to write and dispatch. But make yourself useful. Ring for the butler.”

Caroline’s lips were compressed in anger as she went to several bell cords hanging from the ceiling and pulled one before turning back to her brother.

“Charles, stop that writing! I want to talk to you.”

“I care little what you want. I am busy.”

“I have just talked with Louisa, and we are both agreed that we want to load up your coach and return to London.”

“You do, do you? Hah!” Bingley concluded his second express and finished addressing it when the butler knocked at the door and entered.

“Ah, Smith! I have several things that I need to get done immediately. First, send word to the stables to have my coach prepared. Then summon my valet to pack my trunk. I want to be on my way in half an hour.”

The butler was taken aback to hear that their visitors were leaving, but he had received surprising instructions many times during his service, so he merely said, “Very good, sir,” and stepped over to pull another bell cord.

“Next—and this is just as important—here are two expresses that I need to send, one to my estate in Hertfordshire and the other to a friend in London. Please summon a pair of riders—good ones, like the one who delivered my express this morning.”

“Perhaps you might consider using just one express rider, sir? If I am not mistaken, both destinations are nearly in line with each other.”

Bingley thought that over for a moment before shaking his head. “No, I shall pay the extra cost to make sure each one is delivered as fast as possible. And pack some food and drink for myself and the drivers for the road. It is going to be a hard journey in any case, but I hope to shorten it to four days.”

“Very well, sir. Is there anything else?”

“No, I believe that will be all for now. Thank you.”

Bingley waited until the butler left before swivelling about in his chair to face Caroline, who wore a huge, satisfied smile.

“You have nothing to smile about like that, Caroline. We are not returning to London. I am going to Netherfield instead. One of my expresses was for the housekeeper to arrange to have the house prepared for occupancy.”

Caroline looked at her brother in shock. “Whatever for, Charles?”

“To try to rectify a horrible mistake if at all possible.”

“Talk sense! What are you speaking of?”

“I am speaking of the conspiracy that you and my best friend engaged in to convince me not to return to Netherfield because Miss Jane Bennet was not suitable to be my wife and did not even care for me. Do you perhaps recall that little conversation the four of us had? You, me, Louisa, and Darcy?

“Well, of course, but that was in your best—”

“Do not tell me that was in my best interest!” Bingley said icily as he surged to his feet to confront his sister. He picked up Darcy’s express and waved it furiously at his sister.

“Darcy confessed everything—what he did in convincing me of Jane Bennet’s indifference to me and what he thought when he considered how Mrs. Bennet would order her daughter to accept any offer of marriage I made.”

Caroline went dead white in shock and mortification, taking a step backwards away from her brother’s anger.

“He also writes that you concealed from me that Miss Bennet was visiting her aunt and uncle in London. Also, that you coldly severed the acquaintance with a young lady you had been pretending was a friend! How could you be so callous and cruel? Is that what they taught you at that expensive school?”

“How…how can you even know of this?” Caroline stammered in mortification.

“Because he developed an interest in Miss Bennet’s sister, Miss Elizabeth—so much so that he made her an offer of marriage! What do you think of that, Caroline?”

Caroline was so dumbstruck that she could make no comment at all, her mouth open wide in dismay at the shattering of all her hopes and dreams.

After several moments, she managed to say weakly, “Then…Mr. Darcy is going to marry…to marry…” Her voice went silent. Caroline Bingley simply could not say the words.

“It is not that simple,” Bingley said derisively. “Miss Elizabeth proved herself no more a fortune hunter than her sister would have been. She refused Darcy’s offer, and angry words were exchanged. It was she who informed him of all the particulars of your deception regarding Miss Bennet. But at least Darcy has confessed his errors to me, and now both of us have an opportunity to achieve our dreams: he with Miss Elizabeth and me with her sister. That is why I am going to Netherfield.”

Caroline opened and closed her mouth several times over the next several seconds, trying to say something but unable to make the words come. Finally, she managed to say, her voice almost like the croaking of a frog, “I…I will not go to Netherfield! I…I refuse to have any…any part in such an unseemly scheme! I will not—”

“That is quite all right,” Bingley said with a smile. “Because, you see, you are not invited. You will remain here in Scarborough—you and your sister and your sister’s husband.”

“But…but you are taking your coach! How will…we cannot…how…how will we get home?” Her voice had risen almost to a screech, and the expression that twisted her lovely features was one of pure desperation and panic.

“You could hire a coach, I suppose,” Bingley said with a careless shrug. “You have your own fortune, you know, unless you have overspent your income again. But if the three of you pool your funds, you should be able to manage something. Or you could always travel by post. In any case, it is not my concern. I must be on my way.”

Bingley left his sister standing motionless, her mouth open in shock and dismay, stepping around her to give instructions to his valet about preparations for his journey.

What do you think? He is flying to Netherfield, Darcy has told him everything and I love how he leaves Caroline. However, back to what we know from the blurb… Colonel Fitzwilliam. Are we having a fight over Jane? Is Jane still in love with Bingley? Will Colonel realise that this love at first sight is eventually true? or maybe he will think it is an infatuation? Are Bingley and Darcy becoming brothers, or would Darcy become brother to the cousin he feels is his brother already? I think I am going to stop here and recommend you to buy Determination or participate on the giveaway below.

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Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of Determination. To participate, click the link below and follow instructions. Good luck!

Rafflecopter – Determination

“All That This Entails” by Noell Chesney, interview, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

I am very pleased to introduce you a new author in this blog: Noell Chesney. She is bringing her first book: All that This Entails, a Pride and Prejudice variation that I am sure you will enjoy.

Let me give you a bit of info about Noell Chesney:

Noell Chesney’s childhood love of reading lead to an introduction as a young woman to the works of Jane Austen. The second of four sisters, though no fear of starving in the hedgerows, resulted in a special affinity for Elizabeth Bennet. After reading numerous works of fanfiction by other authors, a decision to try her hand at composing her own story was born. Noell Chesney has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Colorado. She enjoys cooking, boating, camping, and of course reading. She and her husband, Benjamin, live in Highlands Ranch, CO with their three children and two dogs.

So, she identifies with Elizabeth Bennet, we will know a bit more about that on the interview.

Now, let’s see what All that This Entails is about:

I am the daughter of a Duke!

ELIZABETH BENNET COULD SCARCELY CREDIT THE NEWS when a letter sent to her father, from relations she did not know existed, informed them that untimely and unfortunate events would result in Mr Bennet inheriting the dukedom of Everard. In the blink of an eye, the Bennets’ lives are transformed— Elizabeth and her four sisters are wealthy, titled, and the talk of the ton

AT PEMBERLEY, FITZWILLIAM DARCY is still stinging from Elizabeth Bennet’s rejection of him at Hunsford when he learns the extraordinary news. Elizabeth Bennet—now Lady Elizabeth—has been elevated in an extraordinary fashion and is soon to become the most sought-after lady of the season. 

But Darcy’s heart still belongs to her, as much as it ever did, and he sets off for London determined to win her hand. But can he prove to her that he has changed, particularly when her entire life has just altered? 

WOW! The daughter, not only of Mr. Bennet the gentleman, but of Mr. Bennet, a Duke now! Poor Darcy, he must be distress, he loves her but not because she is a Lady now. What about Elizabeth? Did her feelings change after the proposal? Did she get the letter? Did she not? Too many questions to answer, one way to answer, read All that This Entails. You can buy the book or the ebook here:

Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon CA Amazon ES Amazon DE

Without further ado, I hope you enjoy this interview with Noell:

  • How and when did you discover Jane Austen’s books? I am always amazed at how people know exactly when that happened to them.

I was in high school when I read my first Jane Austen novel. The movies for Sense & Sensibility and Emma came out during the mid-nineties and I absolutely adored them. That made me want to read the books. I first read Sense & Sensibility, then Emma, and then worked my way through the remaining novels.

  • Your book follows the beloved characters of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, why Pride and Prejudice to inspire All that This Entails?

I feel that Pride & Prejudice has the most room for variation. There are so many different ways to change the story! So many different avenues to take with when Darcy & Elizabeth meet or how that first meeting goes. You can interrupt events such as Hunsford or Lydia’s elopement. It just seems to be Austen’s story with the most flexibility.

  • Who is your favourite character from P&P? Who do you like the least?

My favorite character from Pride & Prejudice is by far and away Elizabeth Bennet. When I first read the novel, I identified with Elizabeth on a personal level. No, I was not living the life of genteel poverty in Regency England, but we had many other traits in common. I’m the second of four daughters, I loved to laugh and read, I tended to think a little to highly of my intelligence and wit. And Elizabeth is flawed character willing to change and improve when her flaws are pointed out to her which I still think is a wonderful character trait. My least favorite character is Mrs. Philips. She has no real depth and is rather boring compared to everyone else in the book.

  • Apart from P&P, what other book by Jane Austen do you like the most and why?

As much as I love Pride & Prejudice, my favorite Jane Austen novel is actually Persuasion. I think it is Austen’s most complete, most nuanced book. She had really begun to master her craft and I think any novels that followed this one would have been even better if she had not died at such a young age.

  • I am going to be a bit naughty with this question—if you could only watch one P&P movie/series adaptation for the rest of your life, which one would be and why?

No question, the BBC adaptation with Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle! There is absolutely NO competition!

  • Are you already working on another book? If so, is it again a Jane Austen-inspired novel? Could you give us a quick glimpse into it?

I have another idea for a Pride & Prejudice variation and will begin outlining it, but I can’t make any promises as to when it might be released. I work full-time in my profession and have three children, so life is quite busy! I wrote All That This Entails over 10 years ago when I was single and had fewer pulls on my time and haven’t written anything since, so it will be interesting what I might be able to accomplish. My working title is The Godmother which is the only glimpse I can give at this time.

  • Who is your most steadfast fan? The one that criticises and gives more feedback even when it is annoying?

I am! I think all authors and creators feel this way. I just recently read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert about living a creative life and she gives some good advice to be people who want to create things…it doesn’t have to be perfect. She says, “So if you can just complete something—merely complete it!—you’re already miles ahead of the pack, right there.” In other words, “Done is better than good.” This can be difficult advice to follow, but I can see the wisdom of it whether it is writing a book or painting or trying a new recipe or any number of creative things. We need to just put it out there, and if the only person who benefits is ourself, then it was an endeavor worth working on.

  • What other genres do you enjoy? Any book that you would like to recommend the readers?

This is a tough question! I enjoy a variety of genres, from suspense like Gone Girl to fluff like the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovitch. I love the traditional classics from Austen, Bronte, & Dickens to the more modern classics like To Kill a Mockingbird and pretty much anything by John Steinbeck. I even enjoy Russian literature, if you can believe it! I read less non-fiction overall, but have recently been reading some Milton Friedman and Shelby Steele, and I adored The City of Fallen Angels. I love Harry Potter and The Outlander series (some of the only books I keep copies of in my home library!). And I really enjoy more modern literature with some of my favorite titles including The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, anything by Cormac McCarthy, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert,most Ann Pachett and Barbara Kingsolver novels, Pachiko by Min Jin Lee, and Circe by Madeline Miller. Just to name a few!

Thank you very much, Noell for answering all these questions. I have to say that only getting the glimpse of the title The Godmother makes me ask myself a lot of questions: is Lady Anne around? is Lady Catherine the Godmother of Elizabeth? (I hope not!), is it may be Mrs Gardiner? Is Elizabeth the godmother of Jane’s child? Is it a Cinderella-like story? So many possibilities…

I love Persuasion too, she wrote it when she was older and more mature, Anne Elliot is wiser and calmer due to what has happened to her too.

By the way, thank you for all the recommendations. Apart from Harry Potter, I have only read a couple of the titles you suggest.

To finish this post, what better than having a glimpse into the book, please enjoy this excerpt. A family like the Bennets changing to a life between the peers must be something!

Towards the end of the third afternoon of travel, they arrived at Grancourt. The house was a large, rambling building set on a wide plain with hills and forests rising behind it. The sun turned the stone of the house a glowing gold, and towering, overarching trees flanked the avenue leading to the inner courtyard. It was an impressive sight, and they were all quite thunderstruck by its grandeur.

After alighting from the carriages, the Grancourt servants directed the Bennets to a spacious room, at the centre of which stood a handsome, finely dressed woman, whom all assumed to be the dowager duchess. 

Duchess Agatha surveyed her guests with an intelligent eye and curtseyed to Mr Bennet. “Welcome to Grancourt, Your Grace.”

“Duchess Agatha,” he replied with a bow, “thank you for the invitation. May I introduce my family?”

The lady nodded and turned expectantly to the Bennet ladies. The duke continued with the introductions. “May I present my wife and my daughters.” Motioning towards each of the girls, he stated, “Lady Jane, Lady Elizabeth, Lady Mary, Lady Catherine, and Lady Lydia.”

At the pronouncement of her name, Lydia gave an unladylike snort. The duke turned a gimlet eye towards his youngest daughter, the duchess blinked, and Jane blushed and looked down in mortification. 

Elizabeth watched Duchess Agatha. For her part, she maintained an expressionless face except for a slight narrowing of her eyes. Elizabeth had for some time been contemplating exactly what type of woman the dowager would be. She dreaded another Lady Catherine de Bourgh and hoped for an intelligent yet forgiving and compassionate woman like her Aunt Gardiner. 

Duchess Agatha’s features softened slightly. “You are all very welcome.” She gestured towards a set of couches and chairs in the centre of the room. “You must be tired from your journey and in want of rest and refreshment.”  

She rang for a servant, requested tea and refreshments be served immediately and then seated herself in a chair that commanded a view of the others as they sat down in the available places.

As the group was getting comfortable, Duchess Agatha’s gaze wandered over her new relations. Watching her, Elizabeth understood she was inspecting them, and they were most likely falling short of expectations. She determined to make conversation. 

“Your Grace, I am very sorry for your loss. To lose both your husband and his brother’s family in such a tragic accident…”

“Thank you, Lady Elizabeth. It has been a most difficult time. The ship was due to land several months ago, and when it failed to arrive in London, enquiries were immediately sent out to determine its whereabouts. Unfortunately, the answer was a devastating one. Another vessel passed the wreckage and brought word of the ship’s end. No one survived. My husband, his brother Nathaniel, my dear sister Margaret, along with their two children, all perished.” 

The dowager turned towards the window and a deep sadness seemed to descend upon her.

“You were a close family?” Elizabeth asked. “I am so sorry. I do not know what I would do if I were to lose loved ones.”

Duchess Agatha returned her gaze to Elizabeth. “I met Joshua at the end of my first Season just after he returned from the West Indies, and we were married shortly thereafter. I loved him deeply. Meg was my twin, and we were inseparable until our marriages. Our husbands were brothers, and very close, so naturally our families remained on intimate terms. Nathaniel had remained behind in the Indies for several years, so he and Meg married later, which is also why their children were still quite young.” 

This statement startled Elizabeth, and her heart went out to Duchess Agatha. She considered what her own feelings would be were she to lose Jane or one of her other sisters, and in an attempt to comfort the lady, she offered a soft smile and placed her hand over hers.

“I know we cannot replace your family, but you now have five cousins, and we shall do our best to help alleviate your sorrow.” 

Duchess Agatha appeared touched by Elizabeth’s genuine response. “You are very kind. Joshua and I always hoped for children but were never blessed, and I doted upon my sister’s family. And though I will miss them all terribly, it will be wonderful to have young ladies in the house again. Having grown up with a twin sister, I have missed the companionship of women and know you will bring me comfort during this time of mourning.” 

Elizabeth felt an attachment beginning to form between them. “We will do our best, but you may find that six extra females in the house is more than you might wish.” 

Duchess Agatha smiled. “Time will tell, Lady Elizabeth.”

What do you think? I already like Duchess Agatha, I hope she keeps being a good one 🙂

Do not forget to check the other blogs with the stops of the tour. There is so much to learn!

Quills and Quartos and Noell Chesney are giving an ebook copy of All That This Entails to one winner. Good luck!!

“Port & Proposals” by Mark Brownlow, interview, excerpt + giveaway

Dear all,

I am so glad to present you the latest book by Mark Brownlow: Port & Proposals. Why I am so glad? Because I really like Mr. Bennet and I cannot wait to read the sequel to Cake & Courtship. I am actually finishing this book and I can tell you that Mr. Bennet shows a lot about himself and how he cares about the people around him, even if he would prefer to just read and study his butterflies.

Blurb

All Mr Bennet wants to do is read books, eat cake, and study butterflies. But life has other plans for him in this Regency tale of love, regret, and second chances.

Family troubles and a promise to his middle daughter, Mary, force our father of five out of his library to deal with reticent bachelors, stubborn curates, and glib officers. Though his greatest challenge may be to face up to a past he cannot seem to forget.

Mark Brownlow presents a Pride and Prejudice variation full of Mr Bennet’s wit and wisdom that plays out against the backdrop of Vols II and III of Jane Austen’s famous novel.

What do you think? Mark is not giving a lot away but we can see that Mr. Bennet and Mary as key in this story. I am really looking forward to reading more about Mr. Bennet’s thoughts and deeds.

I am pleased to (re)introduce you to the author, Mark Brownlow:

Mark Brownlow is a British-born writer living in Vienna, Austria. He has published three Regency tales narrated by Mr Bennet: the novels Cake and Courtship and Port and Proposals, as well as a short story (A Third Proposal). He has also authored two novellas in the Charlotte Collins Mysteries series: The Lovesick Maid and The Darcy Ring take place in Jane Austen’s fictional village of Hunsford. You can find Mark at LostOpinions.com.

Science degrees from the Universities of Oxford, Aberdeen and Reading prefaced a short-lived career as a research academic. Since turning from facts to fiction, Mark has also worked as a translator, marketing consultant, business writer, and copywriter. None of which kept his soul happy in the way that creative writing does. When not writing, he works as a travel journalist and part-time lecturer in medical and scientific English at a local university.

If there is no pen to hand, he can be found discussing football with his sons or sharing a glass of wine with his wife in front of a costume drama.

Why not following him and discovering what else he writes?

Mark’s website
Mark’s author page at Goodreads
Mark’s author page at Amazon.co.uk
Mark’s author page at Amazon.com
Mark on Twitter
Mark on Facebook

Due to the current situation, I was not able to have a chat face-to-face with Mark to talk about his latest book. However, I really hope you like this interview and the excerpt that he is sharing with us!

Ana: Hi Mark!

Mark: Hello, Ana! It’s lovely to visit again and thank you for having me!

Ana: Tell us a little about your new book, Port and Proposals.

Mark: The novel gives Mr Bennet’s unique perspective on events across the last two volumes of Pride and Prejudice. But rather than just observe those around him from the comfort of his library, he finds himself drawn out into the wider world and confronted by individuals and situations that cause him to reflect on his own life and character.

He also makes a promise to Mary. Unfortunately (for Mr Bennet), this obliges him to dabble in the mysteries of relationships when she begins a friendship with a local curate.

So we can consider it Mr Bennet’s story and Mary’s story, all against the backdrop of the second half of Pride and Prejudice.

Ana: Why choose Mary as a main character?

Mark: When people are perhaps not the best versions of themselves that they could be, I often wonder why. One of the reasons for writing about Mr Bennet was exploring where his cynicism and sardonic humour come from.

Mary sort of sits in no man’s land between the beauty and intelligence of her older sisters and the general silliness and confidence of her younger ones. So Port and Proposals scratches beneath the surface and gives her a chance to step out of the shadows a little. Mr Bennet starts to see her differently, and the reader perhaps with him.

I’ve noticed a growing number of books that explore Mary’s story, so perhaps we’re all curious about what lies behind the morals and poor singing.

Ana: When you last visited, Mark, you spoke about the enduring popularity of the Darcy/Elizabeth story in Austen-inspired variations. So will we see more of these two in Port and Proposals?

Mark: More than in Cake and Courtship, for sure! We see Elizabeth’s letters from Hunsford, for example. And her relationship with her father is an important element in the story. As for Mr Darcy, well, the timeline mirrors Pride and Prejudice, so you can imagine where he appears.

Ana: Do any of the new characters from Cake and Courtship make a reappearance?

Mark: I wrote Port and Proposals so people would not need to read Cake and Courtship. But Mr Bennet’s friends from the Meryton Natural History Society are there for him. And Mrs Hayter, who Mr Bennet knows from his younger days (and that’s all I’m prepared to say about that!)

Ana: Were there any challenges with delving into Mr Bennet’s mind again?

Mark: Definitely. We have the lighthearted world of Mr Bennet’s humour and somewhat cynical view of life. Yet, as your readers will know, the Wickham-Lydia incident occurs in the time covered by the novel. So there’s a balance in mood to be found. Which was made doubly hard by writing in 2020, which was not exactly conducive to optimistic, free-flowing joyous creativity, shall we say?

So for all the witticisms and Mr Bennet’s wry comments on people and society, the novel inevitably has a slightly harder edge in parts. Even Mr Bennet must take things seriously some of the time.

Ana: Do you think 2020 has encouraged more people to escape into Austen-inspired worlds?

Mark: I recently read The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner and a quote stuck in my mind. One character describes Jane Austen’s books so:

“A world so a part of our own, yet so separate, that entering it is like some kind of tonic.”

We have all needed a tonic this year. Having said that, focusing has been difficult. I know I haven’t read as much as I wanted to.

Ana: Will there be a third novel with Mr Bennet?

Mark: Port and Proposals brings its various stories to an end alongside the ending of the Pride and Prejudice timeline. But I’d like to see what becomes of Mr Bennet after Lizzy and Jane marry.

Jane Austen wrote that he “…missed his second daughter exceedingly; his affection for her drew him oftener from home than anything else could do. He delighted in going to Pemberley, especially when he was least expected.” Which leaves plenty of room for a story. And perhaps with more Darcy!

Ana: Thanks, Mark!

Mark: Thank you again for having me, Ana, and compliments of the season to you and all your readers.

Excerpt

In this excerpt, Mr Spigott (the curate) calls at Longbourn. Mrs Bennet’s mind is already making plans for the young bachelor:

“Arise all, arise,” I shouted on entering the house. “We expect a visitor imminently.”

The noises began quickly, reaching their peak in slammed doors and the clatter of eager feet on wooden floors. Lydia found me first, no doubt propelled by curiosity and a wish for first claim on any gentleman who might cross our threshold.

“A visitor, Papa? How exciting. Is it a gentleman? Where is he?” My youngest stopped before the hall mirror, smoothed down her front, then pinched cheeks already flushed by her rapid descent of the stairs.

“It is a gentleman,” I said. “And he is on foot right behind me.”

Lydia rushed to a window, head craning like a heron seeking a plump fish.

“A visitor!” Mrs Bennet approached from the kitchen waving what looked like a piece of pie. “Who is it? Why was I not informed earlier? Husband?”

“Calm yourself, my dear. It is only Mr Spigott come on some religious undertaking.”

“Mr Spigott?” Lydia turned away from the window to frown at me. “How very disappointing.”

“A visitor!” Kitty skipped down the stairs, all the while twisting some ornament into place in her hair.

“It is Mr Spigott.” Lydia spoke as if announcing a harmless, but embarrassing, skin condition.

“Oh,” said Kitty. She turned back upstairs, closely followed by her sister.

“Poor Mr Spigott,” I said. “It appears he lacks the approval of our two youngest daughters. Though I might count that in his favour. Will you welcome our guest, my dear? He should be here in a moment, and I would retire to my study; I have endured enough conversation for one day.”

As I moved to go, my wife placed her free hand on my arm. “Perhaps he has come to visit Mary?”

“So he said, yes. We spoke at the turning. He has pamphlets.”

“Pamphlets?” Mrs Bennet nodded as if the word had a deeper meaning. “Yes, I was certain he smiled at Mary only last week in church.”

“A smile? How very bacchanalian. And in a house of God, too.”

“It is a sign.” My wife pronounced the last word with a distinct capital S.

“You do not think he was merely happy?”

“What has Mr Spigott got to be happy about? No, he was making his affections clear.”

“And did she return the smile?”

“Of course not.” Mrs Bennet scowled at me. “It would not be proper.”

“It would not be Mary,” I said with some conviction.

“He is only a curate, but, well, beggars cannot be choosers.” Mrs Bennet looked about her before lowering her voice. “As you know, Mr Bennet, all my daughters are my favourites. Yet Mary is my least favourite. We will not easily be rid of her.”

“Rid of her?”

“Oh, you know very well what I mean.” My wife shook my arm with vigour. “Mr Spigott may be her only opportunity. If we cannot find a husband for Jane with all her beauty, what chance do we have with Mary? I never imagined we would find someone willing to court her. We should put him at ease and welcome him to our home.”

“And does Mary have any say in all this?”

A half-hearted knock put an end to our whispered discussion.

Mrs Bennet waved the pie again, which showed great fortitude in refusing to disintegrate. She bid me open my mouth, shoved the food inside, then licked her fingers before opening the door.

“Mr Spigott!” My wife looked the curate up and down like a horse trader viewing a lot at the cheaper end of the auction. “You are most welcome. Do come in. We all so look forward to reading your pamphlets.”

“You do, Mrs Bennet?” The curate removed his hat, stooping as he entered. He put me in mind of a young stork: tall, somewhat spindly, and still a little surprised at the world around him.

“I shall be at my desk,” I mumbled through pastry, nodding my own welcome to our visitor as I left them.

Let’s face it, Mrs. Bennet would rarely be any different when it comes to marrying her daughters off, don’t you think? More or less like Lydia’s behaviour? Kitty is perhaps a bit more retrained, at least in this excerpt but you never know.

Blog tour

I highly recommend you to check the other stops on this tour. It may be a short one but you can learn a lot!

  1. December 7th: Babblings of a Bookworm
  2. December 8th: My Vices and Weaknesses
  3. December 9th: Diary of an Eccentric
  4. December 11th: Probably at the Library
  5. December 14th: Austenesque Reviews

Mark Brownlow is giving away one ebook copy of Port and Proposals to one of the readers who comment on this post. I would love if you can ask something you are interested on to Mark. Good luck!

“Fitzwilliam Darcy. Undone” by Sue Barr, character interview + giveaway

She’s the outcast in her family…

Elizabeth knows she’s different from the rest of her family. She has visions and strange dreams and sees things others do not. With the advent of the odious Mr. Darcy and his friends from Netherfield Park, as well as the amiable Mr. Wickham of the _____shire Militia, her powers seem to increase and her greatest fear is that she won’t be able to contain them and will be discovered.

He has eight hundred years of tradition to uphold…

No Darcy has married a non-magical woman since arriving on the shores of England with William the Conqueror in 1066.  However, his kind – Miatharans – are dwindling in numbers. Miatharan magic only flows through aristocratic blood lines, so his strange obsession with Miss Elizabeth Bennet is puzzling as she is not of noble blood. Just a country squire’s beautiful daughter who has him slowly becoming undone.

She is different but he thinks she is not. Well, well, well, not surprising when we are talking about Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. however, it seems that there is much more to know about these two characters on Sue Barr’s latest book: Fitzwilliam Darcy. Undone.

Let me (re)introduce you to Sue Barr:

About the Author:

‘The prairie dust is in my blood but no longer on my shoes.’

Although it’s been over forty-two years since Sue called Saskatchewan home, her roots to that straight-lined province and childhood friends run deep. The only thing strong enough to entice her to pack up and leave was love. When a handsome Air Force pilot met this small-town girl, he swept her off her feet and they embarked on a fantastic adventure which found them settled in beautiful Southwestern Ontario when hubby retired from the military and began his second career as an airline pilot.

Sue started writing in 2009 and sold her first manuscript in 2010. Always a reader of Regency romance, she discovered Jane Austen Fan Fiction in 2014 and almost immediately wanted to know – Whatever happened to Caroline Bingley after her brother and Mr. Darcy became engaged to a Bennet sister? From that question, her first JAFF book was launched.

In her spare time, Sue cans and preserves her own food, cooks almost everything from scratch and grows herbs to dehydrate. Her latest venture is to create her own spice seasonings, experiment with artisan breads and make her own homemade vanilla. Hubby has no complaints other than his jeans keep shrinking. At least that’s what he claims…. Her sons, their wives and all seven grandchildren don’t mind this slight obsession either.

Why not following her and her writing life?

Website:  https://suebarr.ca

FB: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSueBarr/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SBarrAuthor

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B010I53Z1C

I recommend you to read my review of Caroline here, I hope you like it.

Characters interview

I hope you enjoy this interview, little game as much as I have. This Darcy is totally undone 😀

What would Pride & Prejudice be like if Darcy and Elizabeth had a touch of magic in their lives?

Good morning and thank you to My Vices & Weaknesses for hosting this fun post for my latest release, Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Undone. Today I am back to share a post that I hope gives your readers some more laughs and allows them to get to know my version of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet.

I have invited Miss Emma Woodhouse to be our host again for our Newlywed Game, 1812-style. Let’s give a warm welcome to Emma…

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is Emma Woodhouse, and I am back again at the Theatre-Royal, Covent Garden to play another round of the Newlywed Game. Today I have Mrs. Elizabeth Bennet Darcy and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley, Derbyshire. Please join me in welcoming them to The Newlywed Game. (Crowd applauds)

Thank you for joining us today. I know a lot of interest has surrounded your recent union and today I’d love to give you both the chance to tell your side of your story. We had great fun with other members of your family in dimensions past. I like to think you’ll enjoy this game as well.

Let us begin our game with some easier questions…

What is your spouse’s favorite meal?

Darcy: Elizabeth has a weakness for lemon tarts, although I’ve heard her tease me more than once how she craves a perfectly boiled potato and refused to explain why she always laughs when she says that.

Elizabeth: My dear husband, I will put your mind at ease. Mr. Collins, in the middle of his first meal at Longbourn, wondered which one of his fair cousins was owed praise for the excellence of its cookery.  As you can imagine, Mama was exceedingly put out and informed him, with asperity, that Longbourn could well afford a cook and her daughters had nothing to do in the kitchen. After ‘the incident‘, my sisters often refer back to his comment about the perfectly boiled potatoes. He has, unwittingly, provided much levity in our family.

Darcy: He’s an ass.

Elizabeth: Fitzwilliam. (she chastises gently) At times he puts his foot in it, but he’s not all that bad. He grows on you over time.

Darcy: So does fungus.

Well, let us move on to the next question. What do you think is the best thing your spouse loves about you?

Elizabeth: I know he loves my impertinence. No one else dares tell him what they think. He can be quite full of himself at times and I remind him he’s naught but a man who has much to be thankful for.

Darcy: (leans into Elizabeth and whispers, firm lips brushing the pink shell of her ear) And you are thankful every time you see me in nothing but my buckskin breeches and Hessian boots.

Elizabeth flushes at his words and studiously avoids looking at him.

Ahem… That paints a vivid picture. What about you, Darcy, what do you think is the best thing your spouse loves about you?

Darcy: (still watching Elizabeth with hooded eyes) My wife loves my unexpected spontaneity. I’ve surprised her a few times. However, I believe my method of proposing was unique.

Elizabeth: (turning a darker shade of red, if that were even possible) Have you any water, Miss Woodhouse? I find I’ve become quite parched beneath the heat of all these candles.

Miss Woodhouse has one Miss Harriet Smith fetch a glass of water for Mrs. Darcy. She takes a sip and sets the glass on the small table hurriedly placed beside the settee she and Darcy sit upon.

Are you ready to proceed Mrs. Darcy? (at her nod, Miss Woodhouse clears her throat) Have you ever bought anything and kept the purchase from your spouse?

Elizabeth: No, we have a very honest relationship and I have no need to hide anything from my husband.

Darcy: No, indeed, a fact which pleases me very much, Mrs. Darcy.

Elizabeth: (in a tight voice) Behave! We are in public.

Darcy: Would you like to remove to somewhere private?

Elizabeth: (turning to look him direct) You would not dare!

Darcy: (a wolfish grin lifting the corner of his lips) Is that a challenge?

Elizabeth turns, with a small huff, and asks Miss Woodhouse to continue with the interview.

Mr. Darcy, what is the one thing your spouse wears that you absolutely love?

At the question, Elizabeth turns to Darcy and he knows, instinctively, she’s begging him to be circumspect.

Darcy: (with a wink at his worried wife) The dress my wife wore on our wedding day. I will never forget the picture she made as she came down the aisle in Longbourn’s chapel and became Mrs. Darcy. (he takes her hand in his and kisses her knuckles)

What was your first impression of your spouse?

Elizabeth: My first impression varied. At first, he espoused I was tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt him to dance.

Miss Woodhouse and the audience gasp.

Elizabeth: He more than made up for that egregious comment the next time we met at a small, informal gathering.

Darcy: (watching his wife take another sip of water) I remember that evening at Lucas Lodge. I believe we had our first dance there. My attention was quite diverted by a small mark upon your collarbone and very much desired to investigate that further, as you well know.

The audience couldn’t be sure, but it sounded like Mrs. Darcy choked on her water.

Hmmm… I believe we are having more than one conversation tonight. (Miss Woodhouse arches an elegant eyebrow at an unrepentant Darcy, who shrugs and smiles, exposing his dimple) How many pairs of shoes does your wife own?

Darcy: I have not one clue, but I DO know she owns a half dozen pair of sturdy walking boots. Elizabeth is fierce walker and loves all that Pemberley woods offers. In fact, I built a lovely gazebo for her on one of peaks. From there you can admire the beauty of a Derbyshire sunrise.

The sunrise, Mr. Darcy? Your wife must get up before dawn to enjoy the view.

Darcy: Yes, although it is not so difficult when you spend the night there. She enjoys her view and I admire mine.

Finish the sentence. I wish my spouse would stop ______?

Elizabeth: Behaving like a cave man. He is testing my limits tonight.

Darcy: Only tonight, my darling?

Elizabeth: Fitzwilliam!

Darcy: You know I become undone around you. Have mercy, wife.

Elizabeth: Keep this up and Grandmama may well pay us another visit.

Darcy: (sitting up straighter and smiling in such a way even angels would have sighed) I shall do my best.

Elizabeth: (with a laugh) You are incorrigible.

What is your spouse’s pet name for you?

Darcy: That, madam, is between my wife and I.

When did you know you were first in love?

Elizabeth: I was in the middle before I realized it had even begun.

Darcy: I knew when you left me stewing in my own juices at the Meryton Assembly knowing Miss Bingley expected me to ask her to dance.

Elizabeth: (eyes wide) That soon?

Darcy: (shifting closer to her side) In all honesty, I think I knew before I even saw you. I felt you in my bones.

Elizabeth: (pupils dilating with an untold emotion) Oh…

Who said ‘I love you’ first?

Darcy: I did, just before we –

Elizabeth: (in a warning tone) Fitzwilliam…

Darcy: (his gaze never leaving her face) I told her after our first kiss.

Where was your first kiss?

Elizabeth: (cheeks now a bright red) I’d rather not say.

Darcy: I have no qualms, my love. (he brushes off the hand which has gripped his forearm and laces their fingers together) We were at my house in London. Elizabeth’s father had arrived to discuss details of the marriage settlement.

Miss Woodhouse carefully notes Mr. Darcy did not say Elizabeth accompanied her father to his house. The blush, which now covered the poor lady from her decolletage to her cheekbones, indicated she’d been alone with her husband before her father arrived. What a tasty interview this has turned out to be.

How many children do you wish for?

Elizabeth: (her hand inadvertently moving to her midsection in a protective manner) I have no set number in mind, as long as they are all healthy.

Darcy: (eyes darkening once more with desire) I’d love to fill the halls of Pemberley with the sound of children, especially when it is such fun to make them.

At the collective gasp heard round the theater, Darcy and Elizabeth become mindful of their host and crowd of adoring fans.

Oh my, (Miss Woodhouse fans her heated cheeks), I think this would be a good place to end our game. I wish you both joy in your marriage and look forward to seeing you around Town.

What do you think? Where you expecting this kind of interview? I loved it! Now I am really eager to read Fitzwilliam Darcy. Undone, keep reading about these two! Do you want to buy a copy? you can check here:

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Blog tour

So many great stops for you to know much more about this book and a few more to go. Enjoy!

Sue Barr will giveaway an ebook of this latest novel to 3 random winners for the entire blog tour. Follow the tour and join in the comments to be entered to win. Sue will choose the random winners and announce the winners on social media on December 5. Good luck!